Depressed partner cannot perceive the other's feelings

 Depression impairs what psychologists call “empathic accuracy” - and that can exacerbate alienation, depression and the cycle by which they feed each other, reports Psychological Science.

Accordingly, Reuma Gadassi and Nilly Mor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Eshkol Rafaeli at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, sought to grasp these dynamics, particularly the role of gender in relationships, according to a Hebrew University statement.

The study revealed a surprising dynamic. “It’s called the partner effect,” said Gadassi,  psychology graduate student.

“Women’s depression affects their own accuracy. But it also affected their partner’s accuracy,” she described.

Fifty heterosexual couples ---some married, some cohabiting, and together for an average of about five years --- participated in the study. A questionnaire assessed their levels of depression.

Then their interpersonal perceptions were tested both in the lab and in daily life. In the lab, the couples were videotaped during a 12-minute conversation in which one sought help from the other.

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